A Word from Editor-in-Chief

The beginning of the next wave of aviation is round the corner and all credit should go to the proactive policies of the government which is pinning all hopes on the Regional Connectivity Scheme to transform the country

Issue: 11 / 2016By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

The capabilities and the criticality of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the battlefield and elsewhere are getting accentuated as technological advancements happen. In reconnaissance and surveillance and now in combat, the UAV is becoming a key element and this the Germans knew during World War II when they deployed FX1000, kind of a ‘glide bomb’. Though there was lull in the development of UAVs after that, it was post-9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001 which again led to the development of UAVs and UCAVs. And its effectiveness is well known as can be seen in the campaign against terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the US has deployed drones.

In this issue, Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) writes on how we should not underestimate the potential of UCAV as a combat platform in the battlefield, though they may not replace the manned combat aircraft. For the UCAV to compete with fixedwing combat aircraft in respect of capability to carry weapon load, it will need to carry far heavier payloads.

Various programmes are on across the world and Ranjit Kumar who was in Brisbane recently visiting the Insitu facility writes that the Boeing subsidiary is contemplating setting up production facilities of UAVs in India for supply not only to the Indian armed forces but also for exports. Moving manufacturing lines to India is on the cards for many. Lockheed Martin is also exploring the possibility of setting up F-16 production line here.

Air Marshal Pandey further writes the urgency for aircraft and aircraft systems in India and has welcomed the timely induction of the Pilatus PC-7 MkII which has helped prevent another crisis that was brewing in the trainer fleet of the Indian Air Force and had the potential to undermine Stage II training of fighter pilots.

Moving from military to civil aviation, the India narrative of encouraging growth is grabbing headlines. The initiatives of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led team in the realm of civil aviation will accelerate India’s aviation sector into the top three slots in the world soon. Civil aviation is on a high trajectory growth path and India will soon be among the top five aviation markets of the world, from its present ranking of nine. The market size is around $16 billion.

The beginning of the next wave of aviation is round the corner and the government is pinning all hopes on the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) to transform the country. We have an analytical article by Mark Dunnachie, Vice President of Embraer, Asia-Pacific, who states that the RCS is poised to make a significant difference in India, enabling more people, in currently ‘remote’ locations, to have access to air links at an affordable price. While appreciating the efforts the government is putting in, Colonel Sanjay Jhulka (Retd) wonders if as a nation we have stepped our foot on the accelerator a little too soon, without first changing the environment needed to absorb this change. There are many questions at the top of everyone’s minds which he has listed out in his article.

However, these are exciting times in aviation. At the Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition of NBAA in Orlando recently, the industry was ‘abuzz’ with good prospects ahead.

Happy reading!